This is an example of the journal I have to write every Monday for my LSCE class. Retrospection is very important in this class, as it allows us to learn from the experiences we have with the children from the Lynedoch community. The lessons go by in a whirl of chaos and screaming children, so it good to sit down and quietly collect your thoughts about the day.
For most of my knowledge partners, respectful relationships have not only been formed, but they have flowered. Within the small group of LSCE students working with the Grade 5 students, a very tightly-knit relationship has already been formed. Every day, we gain more respect for each person’s skill set: I personally admire Simon’s levelheadedness, keen thinking, and photography skills, as well as Rachel’s kindness and child-intuition. Having this type of relationship with these people makes it easy to respect myself, because in return I have my personality and skill set to bring into the mixture, and it melds well with what they already have to offer. However, I believe we are all struggling slightly with our relationships with the children. It can be difficult, only being in their presence once a week for two hours, to build a respectful relationship. Aside from time constraints, we often are stuck in the situation of wanting to become the children’s friends, not their teachers. For example, I feel uncomfortable doing a sleepover with our children, because it seems inappropriate for us as twenty-something college students to switch from sleepover companion back to discipline-dealing teacher in the span of several days. Does a sleepover with us teach the children to respect their teachers? I personally don’t think so.
For the first of these diaries I talked about my frustration with my lack of child-skills, and my plans for mitigating this problem. In the second diary, I talked about breaching my comfort zone after Rachel forced me to facilitate activities by myself. Today I felt much more comfortable about my skills communicating to and directing the children. There are still a few more kinks that need to be ironed out, like meaningful discipline and clearer explanations, however, I think those things will naturally come over the next few weeks. So, I will not bother this diary this problem anymore, unless it becomes a problem again!
Instead, I will start talking about attempting to integrate Mrs. Adams into the knowledge conversation. First of all, Mrs. Adams is a lovely lady. She is very calm and collected, and a tremendous asset when it comes to discipline. Without her there, I am sure I class would descend into the types of chaos that I hear happens in many of the other classrooms. One look from the steely eye of Mrs. Adams, and the room will go silent in a heartbeat. The children obviously respect her very much, and she respects them in return. There is a beautiful mutual adoration that goes on between the two groups.
However, we often find it difficult to engage her in our lesson plans. She is always there, but often just observes us closely, stepping in occasionally when we are in need of an Afrikaans translation or some kind of disciplinary action. But we would love to her be there with us, however there are several barriers in the way.
First of all is the language barrier. We sometimes have a hard time trying to tell her what we are doing, and asking her how it could be different.
I think sometimes she just wants to sit down and watch us, take a little break perhaps. Her job is stressful, so I can’t blame her for wanting someone else to take over the reins for awhile.
Our activities manual is also difficult. We often forget that we have only submitted a proposal of an activities manual, and not a finalized version. It is easy to follow a plan blindly, knowing that there are problems with it; you are often too lazy to wish to revise the plan. It was difficult integrating Mrs. Adams into the lessons when were sitting down doing the activities proposal, because she was not there writing it with us. Therefore, she is not in the plan we are following.
That being said, I often feel that all of us like it this way: this classroom leadership switch on Monday mornings. It works, and runs smoothly. However, if we are to gain the full experience of working with all the available knowledge partners at Lynedoch, I believe we must start integrating Mrs. Adams into our plans more often. Stay in tune for more updates on this new problem and the ways to tackle it in next week’s diary.
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